Comics can be intellectual
With all due respect to the writer of "To some, comics are funny," (letter, Jan. 5), he is inaccurate in stating that comic books are serialized stories of a less-serious nature (than graphic novels).
The pretentious term "graphic novel" suggests an artistic maturity over "childish" comic books, but it’s really just a marketing strategy for increased sales. Or, in the words of comedian Robin Williams, "Is that a comic book? No! It’s a graphic novel! Is that porn? No! It’s adult entertainment!"
Furthermore, many serialized comic books are of a highly intellectual nature. In issues 232-265 of "Cerebus," the writer/artist created portraits of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, using the medium as a form of literary criticism, including end-notes in the back pages. He followed this up with a verse-by-verse analysis of the Book of Genesis, told through the lens of a biographical portrait of Woody Allen. He then went on to create a theological cosmology, including footnotes ranging from physics to embryology. He also serialized essays in the comics about gender, the prophet Muhammad and Canadian military history. All this for $2.25 a month!
"Graphic novel" suggests fiction, but "comic book" allows for any genre. Harvey Pekar’s graphic biography of Marine Lance Cpl. Robert McNeill, Joe Sacco’s graphic journalism "Palestine," Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko’s graphic philosophy and Will Eisner’s graphic history of the sustained hoax of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" all leap to mind in questioning the term. Speaking of Eisner (U.S. Army 1942-45), he also pioneered the use of comics to train Army personnel, and his magazine, PS, the Preventive Maintenance Monthly will publish its 700th issue next year. This comic book saves equipment and lives.
In all things, let’s do away with pretension, and no longer be embarrassed to call a spade a "spade."
Sgt. David CarringtonCamp Arifjan, Kuwait